Catching Up With…Nick Matthew

Nick Matthew (R) in the 2013 U.S. Open final against eventual champion Gregory Gaultier.

Nick Matthew (R) in the 2013 U.S. Open final against eventual champion Gregory Gaultier.

When Nick Matthew steps on court Sunday, he’ll be entering the same ASB GlassCourt on which he won the 2013 Men’s World Championship in Manchester last November.

The thirty-four-year-old Englishman has had an eventful year since finishing as runner-up in the 2013 U.S. Open last October.

In the space of two weeks last November, the Sheffield-Native won his third world title and reached the final of the World Series Qatar Open. In December,  Matthew won his first $150k Hong Kong Open, propelling him back to world No. 1 in January of 2014 for the first time since February 2012.

A knee injury struck Matthew in the weeks leading up to the summer’s Commonwealth Games, but an unlikely quick turn around from surgery and four-week recovery period had Matthew back in shape to carry the English flag in the Games’ opening ceremony.

Matthew went on to win Gold for England in the men’s singles, after which his focus shifted to his wife Esme, who shortly after the Commonwealth Games gave birth to their first child and daughter—Charlotte.

Matthew, now world No. 3 and second seed in the U.S. Open, has taken a brief hiatus since the Commonwealth Games with the U.S. Open being his first PSA tournament since reaching the final of the British Open in May.

How has your time off been since the Commonwealth Games?
Different! I was absolutely knackered post Glasgow and took three weeks completely off. The preparations following my knee operation were very intense and the competition provided massive highs so I was wiped out afterwards. Since then there has been the small matter of a new arrival…

How is fatherhood treating you?
Loving every minute. Even the sleepless nights & nappy changing! It really is a life-changing experience which nothing can prepare you for. Leaving for this tournament has been hard but I’ve had a long break since my last PSA event so also happy to be back on tour.

What are some personal goals for this year’s U.S. Open?
No goals, no pressure this year. I just want to leave the tournament in a better position than when I arrived; knowing where I am & what I need to do to improve.

What are you looking forward to most about this year’s U.S. Open?
Seeing the buzz around Drexel grow again year on year.

What are your thoughts on prize money parity?
Think it is a must and think US Squash deserve a lot of credit for being the trailblazers in this. I agree with it in all sports but find it strange that in tennis the girls only play best of 3 sets. The squash girls are tougher than that & love the best of 5!

Best U.S. Open memory?
Winning the tournament in New York’s Roseland Ballroom in 2007. A long time ago now but things came together for me that week. I think it was my first World Series title.

Most embarrassing U.S. Open memory?
Getting to the quarterfinals in 2003 from qualifying & it being so unexpected I had to go straight to Pakistan for a smaller event. En route I lost my baggage & proceeded to lose first round!

Best U.S. Open match that you’ve watched?
Lee Beachill playing awesome to win & become World no. 1 for the first time at Symphony Hall, beating Nicol & Palmer on the way. I forget the year, maybe 2004.

Best U.S. Open match that you’ve played?
Beating Ramy Ashour in the semifinals in 2007 & then James Willstrop in the final.

Who are your squash idols?
Jonah Barrington & Peter Nicol.

Favorite shot?
Forehand drop volley.

Favorite food/drink in Philadelphia?
Love the area around Chestnut & Walnut streets downtown. There are so many cool places to eat.

Favorite activity in Philadelphia?
Running up the Rocky steps!

Have you tried a Philly Cheese steak?
Not yet!